Inspection plan and code generation for coordinate measuring machines in a product modelling environment
This thesis describes research into Inspection Plan and Code Generation that has been carried out as part of a research project investigating Information Support Systems for Design and Manufacture. The major theme of this project has been the creation of a skeletal Design to Manufacture Environment which incorporates a feature-based design system, a Machine Planner and Cutter Path Generator for machining an Inspection Plan and Code Generator (the subject of this thesis), and a Manufacturing Data Analysis facility. This experimental environment is supported by a Product Modelling System that permits all geometrical and technological information required to design and manufacture the product to be represented so that full integration can be achieved in the Design to Manufacture Environment. The survey of literature in this thesis covers the wolk of researchers in the field of Product Modelling Environments, in addition to work based on advanced Design to Manufacture systems, before concentrating on research directly concerned with Inspection Plan and Code Generation. The main body of the thesis begins by stating and explaining the objectives of the research and lists the issues that need to be addressed in order to meet these objectives. This is followed by a description of the experimental Design to Manufacture Environment, which includes an explanation of the Product Model and the interaction between it and the inspection application. The higher level issues of Inspection Planning are then discussed before attention is focussed on the individual planning activities that represent the main thrust of the research. Frequent references are made throughout these sections to a series of case-studies (Appendices C and D) based on components supplied by industrial collaborators and processed by an experimental Inspection Plan and Code Generator modelled on the theories promoted by this work. The conclusion of the thesis describes what has been learnt by this research and discusses how adequately the research objectives have been achieved.